Seville Giants

Martin Bates and his wife Anna, also known as the Seville Giants, moved to Seville, Ohio in 1873 around the time of the revolt of the common man. Mr. Bates was born a normal sized baby, but around the age of six or seven he was over six foot and 300 pounds. He continued to grow until he reached 7 feet 9 inches tall and his wife was 7 foot 11 inches tall. Martin was born in Kentucky, while Anna was born in Nova Scotia. Martin Bates received his title of “captain” during the Civil War fighting with the Virginia State line troops. The couple traveled the United States as well as Europe giving lectures and on several occasions presented at the Courts of England. In 1874 the couple purchased a 160 acre piece of land in Seville. In May of 1872, Anna gave birth to a twenty-five pound stillborn baby. She had her second child in February of 1879, who was a twenty-two pound boy who unfortunately only lived a few days. Mrs.Bates became ill and died in 1888. Her husband died in their Seville home in 1919 at the age of 81.
Ulysses S. Grant was the president when the giants moved to Seville. He was a member of the Republican Party that disagreed with president Andrew Johnson’s conservative approach during reconstruction. Martin Bates did not like the violence between the Union and the Confederate armies so he left Kentucky and joined the circus, where he would meet his future wife Anna Haining Swan. Anna Bates established a career for herself by working with P.T. Barnum. Martin joined a circus that toured all over Europe. The couple’s main source of income came from traveling around Europe giving lectures, however they were not tied down to this job that is why the decided to quit and known by the royals in England at the time. When the giant couple decided to get married, their wedding was given a lot of publicity. Queen settle in Seville. There was much talk about the “biggest couple in the world”. They were very well known, in fact, Queen Victoria herself gave them two diamond-studded gold watches as their wedding presents.

Images

Captian Bates and Anna Swan

Captian Bates and Anna Swan

Captain Bates and Anna Swan turned heads when they moved to Seville, Ohio in 1873. The captain stood at 7 feet and 9 inches tall. While Anna stood at 7 feet 11 inches tall. Image courtesy of Medina Historical society View File Details Page

Captain Bates' Nightshirt

Captain Bates' Nightshirt

Martin Bates' nightshirt was fit for a giant. Running 79 inches in length, along with a 56.5 inch waist, while a 25 inch hole for the neck to fit Martin's giant head. He had to have his clothing specially made to fit his abnormal size. It took about 100 years of fabric to make one outfit for him. Image courtesy of Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Cloth Replica of "Baby Boy Bates"

Cloth Replica of "Baby Boy Bates"

At birth, the baby weighed 23.3 pounds and measured 31 inches. The head measured at 19 inches, and the foot at 5.5 inches. Due to the immense size of the baby, he only lived about 11 hours total. He is buried with his parents at Mound Hill Cemetery in Seville. Image courtesy of Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Comparison of Parlor Chairs

Comparison of Parlor Chairs

This Victorian parlor chair belonged to Captain Bates and his wife Anna Swan. All of the furniture in their Seville home had to be specially crafted for them due to the tremendous size of the couple. Image courtesy of Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

John Watt's Tools

John Watt's Tools

The Bates couple had to have their house specially built and renovated to fit their unusual size. John Watts was the builder of their Italianate home in Seville. Mr. Watts styled their home after his own. Captain Bates' and his wife's house occupied 14 foot ceilings and 8 1/2 foot doorways. Mr. Watts used several tools such as a wooden plane with two blades and a wooden mallet. The house was built in the mid 1870s and was torn down in 1947. The wood was that of yellow pine from the west which was reused to build a ranch house on their land. Only the ranch house remains from their time. Image courtesy of Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Barnum's Circus Advertisement

Barnum's Circus Advertisement

The Bates liked to live with only the finest of clothes and furniture filling their home. However, money became short at times. Whenever they would need to get some money back in their pockets they would go work with the Barnum's Museum in New York City. It was a show that consisted of abnormal people. One of the specific shows included four giants and two dwarfs, Captain Bates and Anna Swan being two of the four giants showcased. They made friends with the other people in the show. One of the Siamese twins that were in the show were bridesmaids in Captain Bates and Anna Swan's wedding. Image courtesy of Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Audio

Mrs. King speaking on the Seville Giants

Mr. and Mrs. Bates were both extraordinary people because of their massive size and figure. It can be wondered if there daily lives was typical in relation to others at the time because of there large size and fame. View File Details Page

Seville Giants Epitaph

Seville Giants faced many challenges. | Source: 2015 - 2016 MHS Sherri Hufford's Junior Language Arts Course. | Creator: Bobby and Dan View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Maddie King, John Kalucis, Nate Bonnell , “Seville Giants ,” Discover Medina, accessed May 28, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/254.
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